I was reading an old answer by Jeff Atwood on Meta. It's a heavily downvoted answer and it's almost invisible due to the "blurring" applied to that post. In fact, an answer doesn't need too many downvotes but a net score of -3 is enough to get it blurred.

I have the habit of reading all comments if a particular answer is interesting to me in either way (strongly disagree/agree). But it's pretty annoying to read such an "invisible" post and more so for the comments as the font is small and blurring is applied to the comments as well.

What's the point of such blurring? Don't the votes serve the purpose to indicate that "this answer is very bad"?

I understand the purpose is to indicate future readers that "this answer is bad". But...

Aren't the number of downvotes and the post staying at the bottom enough to indicate readers that "this answer is considered as bad"? I don't see the point of blurring an answer when the downvotes indicate it's of poor quality and push it to the bottom. IMO, the blurring effect only serves to annoy the future readers.

A subjective/incorrect answer could easily (and quickly) get 3 downvotes on SO and yet I (probably others as well) want to read that post to see what's wrong or whether it's actually bad, etc.

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    I think the fading itself isn't the problem. But the effect is too strong and reduces the contrast between text and background too much. Feb 9 '13 at 16:28
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    Maybe the text should be darkened on hover. Feb 9 '13 at 16:30
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    Blurred? Should be faded.
    – Shog9
    Feb 9 '13 at 16:31
  • @MichaelLiu this script does exactly that :) Feb 9 '13 at 16:32
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    @Shog9 Correct me if I am wrong. But from dictionary: blur = Make or become unclear or less distinct; A thing that cannot be seen clearly. fade = Gradually grow faint and disappear. AFAIK, no amount of downvoting would increase the existing fading or make an answer disappear. It's just applied whenever the score is <=-3. There's no "gradual" effect but only a "toggle" effect. So "cannot be seen clearly" is more applicable than "gradually disappear".
    – user210447
    Feb 9 '13 at 19:21
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    @Shog9 Also, the migration that just happened missed certain things. There was an upovte for this question, an upovte for Manishearth's answer, a couple of comments, my edit on the question..they all disappeared now and the views were 82 but now 49.
    – user210447
    Feb 9 '13 at 19:34
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    You're looking at the definition of "fade" as a verb, which is different. "Faded" can mean that something is shown with a reduced visual intensity, as in the downvoted posts. "Blur" refers to a specific visual effect designed to emulate out-of-focus vision, as seen e.g. here.
    – David Z
    Feb 9 '13 at 20:48
  • @DavidZaslavsky The process of becoming less bright. is the noun for fade. I don't think there's such an ambiguity in the meaning "fade", "faded", "fading" etc. They all mean more or less the same thing: gradual disappearance. While "blur" may not be as accurate, I don't see how it's any worse than "fade" to describe this effect.
    – user210447
    Feb 9 '13 at 20:57
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    Yes, and that's exactly what you're seeing in the downvoted answers. They are less bright than normal answers. "Blurred" is worse than "faded" to describe the effect because, frankly, the effect is called fading, not blurring. (Not that it matters, really, so I will leave the discussion at this point)
    – David Z
    Feb 9 '13 at 21:18
  • @DavidZaslavsky My question is do we really need that effect (whatever it may be called)? Because downvotes do that. Answer ordering do that. Most people who look at it are probably still going to read it anyway. It only hurts my eyes.
    – user210447
    Feb 9 '13 at 21:23

SE doesn't jut cater to the folks who ask and answer. SE tries to cater to those who have a similar problem and find a post via Google. Not all non-SE users know what the number means. It seems obvious, but it may not be. Especially for those not familiar with Reddit/etc. So, fading it out is a simple visual cue "don't read this".

I do agree that it is useless on meta, and disabling it may be a good option.

In the meantime, try my Unfade downvoted posts script.

  • I don't see point of point blurring an answer when the downvotes indicate it's of poor quality and push it to the bottom. Don't the downvotes say "Don't read this"?
    – user210447
    Feb 9 '13 at 16:36
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    @kingsindian to you, yes. Not to everyone. Especially when there's a heavily downvoted, accepted answer. Don't assume that it is obvious. An extra visual cue doesn't hurt. Feb 9 '13 at 16:38
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    IMO, it does hurt and even without the extra effect, the purpose is served already.
    – user210447
    Feb 9 '13 at 16:50
  • if most users don't understand it, blame the UX. If most users understand the UX, blame that specific user. I don't think that number is not obvious.
    – Ooker
    Feb 6 '15 at 11:15

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